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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

OPINION: Palestine has the right to defend itself, even if you can’t stomach it

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Sascha Harvey
(Illustration)

I want you to imagine yourself as a young Palestinian boy, born in the early 2000s in Gaza. You grow up in what is essentially a concentration camp, a city under land, sea and air blockade by Israel since 2007. In 2008, you were spared from being one of the 313 children killed in Operation Cast Lead. In 2012, you understood a bit more about the world, and Israeli bombs rain down around you for eight days during Operation Pillar of Defense. In 2014, you are entering your preteen years and hear the story of four boys between the ages of 9 to 11, struck dead by Israeli missiles while playing soccer on the beach in Gaza. As a teenager, you hear the stories of Razan Al-Najjar and Eyad Al-Hallaq, and your anger grows. In 2021, Palestine catches the world’s attention as Gaza is targeted once again, entire families wiped out – but Israel continues its crimes without consequence. 

It’s 2023 now, and you’re an adult. You spent your childhood watching the genocide of your people as Israeli settlers frolic on Tel Aviv beaches and set Palestinian olive groves on fire. You are old enough to have heard your grandparents and parents’ stories of more of the same. Naturally, inevitably, the anger and the pain of living under occupation leads you to take action. 

Civil rights organizer and pan-Africanist Kwame Ture once wrote, “in order for nonviolence to work, your opponent must have a conscience,” as a criticism of the peaceful approach taken by other African-American leaders in the face of deadly anti-Blackness. 

To me, his words also address a fundamental failure in the western understanding of the Palestinian people and their cause: the white-hot spotlight on their self-defense after 75 years of indifference to violent colonization by Israel.

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You cannot sit comfortably in America, which is also stolen land, and pass moral judgment on an indigenous group struggling for liberation from an occupying force your country funds (especially when said natives actually have tried peaceful measures). If you believe that the solution to 75 years of occupation lies in peace talks and “sharing the land,” I strongly suggest you pick up a book and refresh your memory on how Haiti, Algeria and Vietnam achieved independence from their colonizers. 

Liberation isn’t pretty squares on an Instagram story or GoFundMes retweeted a thousand times. It’s painful, ugly and the product of long-endured systemic oppression. And never the fault of the colonized.

The outrage at Palestinians in Gaza, whether they are affiliated with Hamas or not, resorting to violence against their colonizer is selective and hypocritical. Where were your condemnations of civilian death in the indiscriminate bombings of Gaza in 2008, 2012, 2014 and 2021? Why weren’t you moved to call for peace every time Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers raided various cities in the West Bank and shot young Palestinian men for throwing rocks at fully armed tanks? What was your response every time a Palestinian was shot dead at a checkpoint for moving a hand too quickly, or when a Palestinian family was kicked out of its generational home to make room for some racist New Yorkers?

Palestinians who have lived under the thumb of Israeli violence their entire lives are labeled as terrorists. Yet it is Israel that routinely aims its missiles and bullets at residential buildings, medics and journalists. Somehow, Palestinians are the threat that needs to be neutralized when IDF is funded and stocked with cutting-edge technology by the most powerful country in the world

Our world has lost the plot so completely that it defends Israeli colonizers with state-of-the-art bomb shelters and Western countries of origin to comfortably cower in, but never the Palestinians with nothing but smuggled weaponry and rocks from the land they so proudly defend as theirs to protect themselves with.

To me, it seems that Israeli civilians got a taste, 75 years later, of the lived experience of those they stole the land from – and I find it incredibly difficult to find sympathy for them.

I urge you to take a step back from your fear of being falsely accused of antisemitism or supporting terrorism, and, instead, take the time to understand the Palestinian plight without the barrage of Western media constantly demonizing us – and choose to be on the correct side of history.

Editor’s note: The quotation marks around “civilians” have been removed. The author did not intend to imply that Israelis are less than human, but to refer to their status as colonizers. 

 

View Comments (46)
About the Contributors
Salsabila Attaria
Salsabila Attaria, Former arts and culture editor
Salsabila Attaria was the arts and culture editor for The Sunflower during the 2023-2024 year. Attaria is a health science major.  She previously worked as a reporter and assistant news editor. She uses she/her pronouns.
Sascha Harvey
Sascha Harvey, Illustrator/Designer
Sascha Harvey is a columnist, review writer, illustrator and designer for The Sunflower. A senior majoring in graphic design, this is Harvey's fourth year on staff. He is originally from Arkansas but has no accent to speak of (unless you listen really hard). The graphic design major enjoys reviewing albums and video games. Harvey uses he/him pronouns.

Comments (46)

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  • T

    TedNov 28, 2023 at 12:59 pm

    Thank you for sharing this opinion. It would be great to have a better understanding of the author’s relationship to the subject. Why is the reader asked to imagine themselves in this specific, detailed scenario? Is this part of the author’s lived experience ? Are the details also imagined? Most troubling, though, is the conclusion that violence is the only “natural, inevitable” solution, especially when quoting an author who publicly stated their admiration for Adolf Hitler. I appreciate the public exchange of ideas, but these signals are disturbing.

    Reply
  • AnonymousNov 7, 2023 at 12:34 pm

    well USA you think your not going to pay for this 10000 palestinans killed. ovomit gave iran a nuke so i hate to say it you will get yours. this country has gone to crap anyway

    Reply
  • N

    NewellOct 27, 2023 at 12:58 am

    Garbage article, can’t believe you’re defending literal terrorists. You should be ashamed of yourself and apologize + remove this hot piece of garbage leftist propaganda.

    Reply
  • ~

    ~Oct 15, 2023 at 4:39 pm

    Wonderfully written.

    Reply
  • W

    WawaOct 14, 2023 at 5:27 pm

    I completely agree. I am saddened of course of any innocents dying for wars that aren’t their fault but the West’s hypocritical and completely one-sided support of Israel but then denying the Palestinians that same right to defend itself is disgusting and hypocritical and if any TRUE peace is to be brokered, it begins with the West stopping their double-standards and forcing Israel to comply with international law and a two-state solution.

    Reply
  • J

    JoshOct 14, 2023 at 5:21 pm

    I enjoyed this piece a lot, but I will push back against the “difficult to find sympathy” comment in a way that isn’t based on anger as others have. I am speaking purely from an outside perspective looking in. I’m a straight white guy born and raised in America and have been very ignorant of this conflict. That has changed over the recent years as I have engaged in progressive discourse, especially around international affairs.

    There are a lot of signs that the majority of Israeli people are at odds with their government. The favorability of the government has dropped year over year on average since 2018. There are also widespread protests over the judicial reform Netanyahu tried to implement. The last point I’ll make is that the Israeli government allows Western media into areas of disaster before the local press. This allows these media companies to build their narrative for large corporate interests that profit from the most successful US-sponsored proxy war. They allow for the international narrative to be formed first so that local media gets drowned away in all the noise.

    All that said, resistance is violent. I loved the use of Kwame Ture. I just found his work recently in my self study and am so glad I did. People who immediately turn around and blame the oppresed for fighting back from the opressor is inevitably going to cause vioalence. Either side, whether it be the opressor showing power, or the opressed resisitng. The response to innocent people being killed should absolutely not be more innocent people get killed. It’s important to lift the voices of Palestenian people during this time in order to show the daily struggle they are forced into on a daily basis. This piece does that in a great way, despite my criticism.

    Reply
  • A

    AnonymousOct 14, 2023 at 7:47 am

    If you CAN stomach it, there is something wrong with your moral compass. If you CAN call the massacre of Israeli babies, children, women and men a resistance effort and dehumanize victims then you’re a part of the problem and not the solution. Of course we know innocent civilians get killed on the other side as well but Israeli’s are not dancing in the street and parading the dead as trophies. Many Jews in America are going to Israel to fight for the IDF. Just wondering why all the keyboard warriors are not going to Gaza to join the resistance effort they believe in so much Could it possibly be because it’s all well and good to play armchair politics from your nice, safe stolen land in the US but if you actually had to be the one to slaughter innocent civilians YOU could not actually stomach it.

    Reply
    • W

      WawaOct 14, 2023 at 4:59 pm

      So the masacre of PALESTINAN children and civilians is ok??? YOUR moral compases seems to be biased and hypocritical. Are YOU going to fight for Israel you so hypocritically defend? And of course Jews are going to volunteer. They have Western backing and resources! Do Palestinian volunteers get the same! Enough with the double-standards!

      Reply
  • M

    Mir KhanOct 13, 2023 at 10:32 pm

    Thank you for speaking the truth.

    Reply
  • A

    Anonymous-1337Oct 13, 2023 at 1:55 pm

    This out of touch, gaslighting, victim blaming article does nothing to reconcile any sympathy for Palestine.

    Israel is in their full rights to decimate the actors of ethnic cleansing whether that be current or future threats to the already discriminated against Jewish population (who have occupied the land for 4000 years).

    If you hate being in a country that lives “comfortably on stolen land” then you’re welcome to donate your gross income to the indigenous tribes as restitution for living on their land.

    Reply
    • W

      WawaOct 14, 2023 at 5:03 pm

      Victim-blaming” is Western powers giving the already powerful Israel the Green light “defend itself” while being ignorant and denying that same right to Palestinians.

      “Ethnic cleansing???” So do you use that same strong language as Israeñis carry out their decades long Western backed war against an impoverished group that often lacks basic human right if water and eléctricity?!?

      Jews were kicked out of those lands during the time of the Romans. Palestinians are just as ethnic and Native so again…stop the hypocrisy!,

      You can shove your double-standards.

      Reply
      • A

        Anonymous-1337Oct 15, 2023 at 3:00 pm

        Good job at proving my point that the Jewish occupation has been discriminated against since BCE times. It was, is and should always be their land. Israel has been extremely kind to the islamic’s state visible attempt to destroy Jewish heritage. The Palestinians voting in a terrorist organization of Hamas to govern the area was a mistake of their own doing. Any state has the privilege of action, But you are responsible for the repercussions.

        It’s almost like Palestine did have other sources of water, but tore out the water pipes to build missiles… And they bragged about doing it in a propaganda piece. If we want to talk about basic human rights, how come none of the islamic states are accepting Gaza refugees? Why is Hamas blocking exit paths for civilians to flee? Why has Hamas told all civilians not to flee even after Israel told them to evacuate for an impending land invasion? To me, that is a governing power expressing they value more about their motives than their constituents’ lives; to then turn around and dance on the casualties blaming humanitarian crisis.

        Thanks for playing, feel free to adopt the Sharia law when you move out of the hateful United States and let us know how it works out in 10 years.

        Reply
        • AnonymousNov 6, 2023 at 7:35 am

          Thank you for proving zionists are scum.

          Reply
  • P

    PeteOct 13, 2023 at 12:54 am

    While Israel is not perfect it is the only Democracy in the Middle East. Israel wants secure borders but Iran and Hamas want the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people. What Hamas has perpetrated to Israelis is not demonstrated in this opinion piece. This opinion piece makes out that the Palestinians are victims to Israel. Yes they are victims but they are victims to Hamas and what they did to the Jewish people. Now instead of containment, Israel is going for the total destruction of Hamas so I hope those in Gaza City go south in Gaza so Israel van do what needs to be done.

    Reply
    • W

      WawaOct 14, 2023 at 5:07 pm

      It’s NOT the only democracy in the Middle East and supposed “democracy” has violated international law and settle illegally on Palestinan land fir decades and also killed civilians.

      The same can be said if Israel that wants to end Palestine! They’ve already illegally settle on land while the,Western world once criticize them but ultimately did nothing.

      There’s already little land left on Gaza for Palestinans to go! This war is of Israel’s doing as much as Hamas and Israel needs to answer for their war crimes too.

      Reply
  • A

    AnonymousOct 12, 2023 at 7:54 pm

    We are all just animals in a pit.

    Reply
  • A

    AnonymousOct 12, 2023 at 5:15 pm

    Te writer is absolute slime. Scary and sad a supporter of terrorism sits right here in Wichita.

    Reply
    • AnonymousOct 12, 2023 at 7:50 pm

      grow up, people like you love to spread hate and push narratives without knowing the full story. also, the*

      Reply
      • A

        AnonymousOct 12, 2023 at 8:32 pm

        I’ve never defended beheaders of babies or other terrorist. If showing opposition to those who do is spreading hate, then call me guilty. But you are the one who is lying or doesn’t know what you’re taking about. Ironic you are accusing me of spreading hate. Also, your “also” should be “Also”.

        Reply
    • W

      WawaOct 14, 2023 at 5:10 pm

      You’re slime, hypocrite. Supporter of Palestinan deaths.

      Reply
  • A

    AnonymousOct 12, 2023 at 12:03 pm

    Wonderful article, and very well said Salsabila. Thank you for bringing awareness to the genocide the zionists have been committing against Palestinians. You brought facts and some people don’t like to listen to the data because they don’t have the brightest minds. I’m proud of you. Again, thank you. Free Palestine.

    Reply
    • D

      DavidOct 13, 2023 at 4:55 am

      Wow, I can’t believe WSU allowed this trash piece to be published.

      Reply
      • AnonymousNov 6, 2023 at 7:37 am

        cry about it zionist scum

        Reply
  • A

    AnonymousOct 12, 2023 at 11:19 am

    This is a disgusting article. Saying Israeli “citizens” got a taste when innocent civilians are being slaughtered is horrible. This logic of stolen land also doesn’t work because we, right now, are living on “stolen land.” Would this apply to us as well?

    Reply
    • A

      AnonymousOct 12, 2023 at 11:49 am

      Yes it absolutely does. The land we live on is stolen Native American land. Innocent civilians?? The fact is Hamas is not targeting children and women the way zionists do, killing children that are held in their parents arms.

      Reply
    • A

      AnonymousOct 12, 2023 at 11:54 am

      Yes it absolutely does. The land we live on is stolen Native American land. Innocent civilians?? The fact is Hamas is not targeting children and women the way zionists do, killing children that are held in their parents arms.

      Reply
  • A

    AnonymousOct 12, 2023 at 7:42 am

    Ah yes war crimes, the right side of history. I’ve never heard violation and beheading of women and children so quickly disregarded as “not pretty”.

    Reply
    • W

      WawaOct 14, 2023 at 5:11 pm

      And the bombing of hospital and cutying off of water and power is humane??? The slaughter of Palestinan civilians???

      Reply
      • C

        CarsonOct 14, 2023 at 8:08 pm

        Why are people not able to say something is wrong without you completely disregarding it… you’re in these comments to antagonize for what? Most of these comments are about the author not feeling bad about the killings of Israeli citizens. No one is agreeing what Israel has done to Palestine and the Gaza Strip is right. We’re just stating what Hamas did was wrong. We’re able to see the complexity of this situation and want the killings to stop. Clearly, you don’t seem to care that Innocent people were killed just because they were killed. If you hate Jews, just say so. We will continue to stand against Jews AND Palestinians being killed however, while you care only about one side.

        Reply
  • C

    ChrisOct 12, 2023 at 7:14 am

    Until the idea that Israel represents land “stolen” from Palestine is abandoned and recognized as an act of the United Nations. a ceding of that land by a declaration of the world authority, nothing will ever change. The United Nation, then, created this situation. They should remedy this situation.

    Reply
  • D

    Douglas JamalOct 11, 2023 at 11:54 pm

    This was extremely powerful Salsabilla, well done.

    Reply
  • U

    Uri ReemOct 11, 2023 at 11:53 pm

    This is an incredible one sided article, which cherrypicks individual stories amongst a long, complicated conflict, I’m which both sides have committed atrocities. While I understand the Palestinians struggle for freedom, that does not justify any of the terroristic acts they commit. Try to think of the same story from an Israeli child’s perspective, which had seen their home fire upon before each one of those operations in Gaza. While it does not justify the Israeli bombings, Hamas is just as responsible for creating this situation as is the IDF, and technically speaking it was not the Jewish people who rejected the UN /British split and invaded… I agree that nowadays israel needs to offer a real solution and be the “bigger person” to stop this endless cycle of violence. This article offers no solution and only basically attempts to justify war crimes. What do you suggest? the killing of all Israelis and Israeli children? The only real solution is a peaceful one, and with incidents such as these, it’s not coming any time soon

    Reply
    • A

      AnonymousOct 12, 2023 at 11:58 am

      You keep mentioning peaceful solutions but you don’t realize how many UN resolutions Israel has broken? Go look at Resolution 242. The point isn’t to justify the killings. The point is that we have been suffering for 75 years and no one has batted an eye. Now that we are resisting, everyone feels bad for the “innocent Israelis”. For 75 years we have been watching a Holocaust and a genocide happen before our eyes to the Palestinians, and no one has come to our defense. We need to stop dehumanizing Palestinians, and stop listening to Western media and war propaganda, and it’s time to educate yourselves and do your own research.

      Reply
      • U

        UriOct 12, 2023 at 9:45 pm

        I’m not defending what israel is doing whatsoever, I agree it’s horrible, however two wrongs don’t make a right, you realize you’re calling for revenge, not peace? I think the fact you put innocent in quotes is ridiculous they have beheaded children and women. You are blatantly cherrypicking facts.

        Reply
    • W

      WawaOct 14, 2023 at 5:14 pm

      You wanna talk about “cherry-picking” and “claiming that both sides have committed atrocities when one side has enjoyed becoming rich, prósperos, well armed and backed by powerful allies while the other is impoverished???

      Please stop your disgusting double-standards. The Israelís have already illegally settled on Palestinaian land fir decades now so what do YOU suggest the Palestinans do??? Allow their civilians and children to be killed???

      ENOUGH.

      Reply
  • M

    MOct 11, 2023 at 11:07 pm

    10/10 great insight

    Reply
  • C

    CarsonOct 11, 2023 at 10:32 pm

    To say that Israeli citizens got a taste and that you struggle with sympathy is abhorrent. Babies, children, and holocaust survivors have been brutally murdered and you struggle for even sympathy? You can acknowledge the crimes against humanity committed by the Israeli government and also recognize what Hamas did was inhumane. This should be a time to unite around peace for Palestinians and Israeli citizens; instead your words provoke division. You more than anyone should feel for the lost of innocent civilians. I’m honestly ashamed that the Sunflower allowed this article to be published.

    Reply
    • W

      WawaOct 14, 2023 at 5:20 pm

      And yet people like you also exacerbate the problem by only focusing on Israelís when Israelís have donde far worse for decades and yet remain conveniently silent when Palestinan are killed.

      What provokes división are the constant claims of the West that decades “Israelís right to self defense” but conveniently deny Palestinans that same right! Decrying Israelís casualties but silent when Palestinan casualties and civilians are killed! Giving aid to Israel in the form of weapons but “aid” to Palestine to merely subsist (and often for that to get siezed by Israelís too).

      The violence will not stop until the West STOP THE DOUBLE-STANDARDS.

      Reply
      • C

        CarsonOct 14, 2023 at 7:56 pm

        Did you not read where I wrote about the crimes against humanity by the Israeli government… This is about the author not feeling bad for innocent Israeli civilians being killed. You fail to have a nuanced position on this. Again, one can recognize the atrocities by the Israeli government and also say what Hamas did was wrong. I’ve been against the inhumane treatment of the Palestinians and will continue to do so. You’re antagonistic comments and assumptions about me being silent are wrong.

        Reply
  • A

    AnonymousOct 11, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    Equating the actions of Hamas as a reflective act to Palestinians is insane. The acts of the IDF are horrible and genocidal; however, the cold blooded murder and massacre of over 1,000 innocent Israelis is not defensible as “a taste” of what the IDF has committed. That’s like saying it’s okay if 1,000 Iraqi terrorists enter LA and murder random neighborhoods because of the American atrocities to Iraq after 9/11 occurred.

    Reply
    • W

      WawaOct 14, 2023 at 5:22 pm

      The difference is Hamas is wideky recognize as a terrorist group because it attacks and kills Israelís civilians but are the IDF recognize as terrorists by the wirld when that attack and kill Palestinans civilians,?? No? Those double-standards are exactly part of the problem!

      Reply
  • L

    LisaOct 11, 2023 at 6:58 pm

    Jews have been “indigenous” to the land known as Palestine since 1000 BC. Whose land is stolen?

    Reply
    • R

      RunOct 12, 2023 at 7:12 am

      Not what indigenous means but nice try. Regardless, doesn’t mean you massacre the existing population when you return to the land. The Palestinians did not “steal” the land from the Jews, so you’re wrong again. Zionists are incapable of critical thought, as per usual.

      Reply
    • W

      WawaOct 14, 2023 at 5:23 pm

      So have Palestines which has long since had that very name. The Jews were kicked out by the Romans.

      Reply
  • K

    KhalilOct 11, 2023 at 6:00 pm

    Great article

    Reply
  • AnonymousOct 11, 2023 at 5:58 pm

    Well said

    Reply